By Tamara Franklin, founder of the lifestyle blog The Diva’s Guide to Life.
Studies show that blog posts with headlines that contain numbers bring 3-8 times more traffic than headlines without numbers. Additionally, people tend to share list posts more often than other post types. Readers eat up posts like “10 Ways To Wear A Scarf” or “7 Ways To Rock Neon.”
Why they’re great for bloggers:
Lists posts are great for you as a blogger because they can serve as your guide. With your headline, you have defined exactly how long your post will be and given yourself a finite amount of material to cover. This can make your job much easier because it prevents you from going off on tangents and helps you to stick to the script.
Why they’re great for readers:
List posts are just plain easy to read. The posts are a breeze to skim through and get the gist of what it’s about in a short amount of time. Readers can also go directly to the sections of the post that they want to read and bypass the rest, saving them time.
- Check out CollegeFashion.net’s 50 most popular posts, nearly 30% of these posts are made up of lists.
- Of the 5 posts listed as most popular on Refinery29, 3 of them are lists.
- 15 of Convince & Convert’s top 25 all-time posts have a number in the headline
- As for the holy blogging authorities, have you taken a look at the popular articles featured on the sidebar of Copyblogger? Well, I have and let me tell you, 50% of them are list posts.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s explore the reasons why writing list posts are a proven method of driving traffic to your blog.
1. Search engines love list posts.
Search engines like Google and Yahoo are great at indexing list posts. They tend to rank higher because of their organizational structure.
2. List posts promise something specific.
Prospective readers know by your headline that they are guaranteed to a certain number of informational gems about the subject at hand.
3. List posts are scannable.
These days, everyone has a busy lifestyle. With a list post, your reader is able to quickly scan the post for the information that they desire much faster than they could absorb it by reading long paragraphs. And let’s be honest, in this information age, our attention spans are diminishing at the speed of light. It’s always better to provide small, digestible chunks of information.
4. The human brain is attracted to numbers.
Let’s not get too deep into the many mysteries of the human brain; that could take decades. Trust me when I tell you that the brain likes its numbers. Numbers hold the promise of something real, accessible and easy to understand.
5. Numbers represent facts.
Again, this one has to do with your brain which associates numbers with factual information. Readers perceive numbers as an informational resource as opposed to marketing fluff. When you include numbers in the headline of your post, you then take on an air of credibility as someone who is the presenter of factual information. This in turn, makes your content seem more useful.
6. List posts indicate high value.
Readers are typically used to getting one good tip from a blog post. Therefore, when you promise them 10 amazing tips all assembled in one place, they feel as though have hit the informational jackpot.
7. List posts are shared more often on social media.
Social Media influencer Dan Zarrella analyzed his own content and discovered that his posts with numbers in the headlines received more Facebook sharing than those without numbers in the headlines.
The decision whether to continue reading your blog post is made so quickly; often before the reader has finished with the entire headline. List posts work well because they advertise what the article will offer in very few words and allow the reader to have an immediate impression of the value of your content.
*Bonus fact: Research shows that headlines that contain odd numbers have a 20% higher click-through rate than headlines with even numbers.
*Warning: Be careful not to abuse this type of post. It’s great to have it in your arsenal; however, if used on a daily or weekly basis, you could come off looking desperate for traffic, which can hurt your credibility with loyal readers. Use sparingly and at your own risk.
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